In a looser sense the term Karroo is also used of the vast northern plains of the Cape which are part of the inner table-land of the continent.
Between the higher ranges are many fertile plains and low hilly districts, well watered but comparatively little cultivated in consequence of intertribal feuds.
Chiefly owing to the dryness of climate, its physical characteristics are similar to those of Mongolia proper, except that the altitude of the plains is much lower.
The island is mountainous in the main, almost continuously so, indeed, along the east coast, and very largely granitic, with a number of lofty upland plains in the east, and volcanic in the west.
Arid upland plains and parched hillsides take the place of the rich verdure and luxuriant arborescent growth of Imeretia, Svanetia and Mingrelia, the districts which occupy the valleys of the Ingur and Rion and the tributaries of the latter.
The country is covered with limestone in many parts, and large isolated bluffs of this formation stand up in the plains both on the eastern and the western slopes.
This comprises most of the upper basin of the Great Zab, with the country of the Nestorian Christians and many districts inhabited by Kurdish tribes, some of them large nomad tribes who descend for the winter to the plains of the Tigris.
North of the plateau rises a well-watered and undulating belt of country, into which run low ranges of limestone hills, sometimes arid, sometimes covered with dwarf-oak, and often shutting in, between their northern and north-eastern flank and the main mountain-line from which they detach themselves, rich plains and fertile valleys.
The plains of Esdraelon, and the Buttauf, and the plateau of el-Ahma are all remarkable for the rich basaltic soil which covers them, in which corn, cotton, maize, sesame, tobacco, millet and various kinds of vegetable are grown, while indigo and sugar-cane were cultivated in former times.
M.), may be divided into four natural zones or sections: - (i.) the plains north of the Caucasus mountains, comprising the administrative division of Northern Caucasia; (ii.) the Caucasus range and the highlands of Daghestan; (iii.) the valleys of the Rion and the Kura, between the Caucasus range and the highlands of Armenia; and (iv.) the highlands of Armenia.